Engagement and impact

Youth focus on future research

Youth Week forum

A group of more than twenty UQ students visited the Global Change Institute on 1 April to workshop and explore the future direction of research.

After a series of imaginative games and exercises led by UQ’s Professor Kim Wilkins, the students discussed what research priorities they’d like to see in place in the not-too-distant future.

The event was part of Youth Week promotion sponsored by the Queensland Government Department of Environment and Science and managed by UQ Employability.

Students will have the opportunity to apply for youth focussed research projects in mid-April.  With Queensland Government to support, scholarships of up to $5000 will be provided to successful applicants in the program.

More information here.

Cotton Research & Development Corporation visit

Cotton Research and Development Corporation visit

On 16 –17 February, GCI hosted the board and management team from the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC).

The CRDC visit to The University of Queensland was part of a broad agenda which encompassed holding one of their regular board meetings and running a strategy session in parallel with the Cotton Australia Board.

An additional part of their visit included receiving a series of presentations from GCI staff which included an introduction to research and innovation at UQ as well as an overview of GCI (Prof. Rachel Parker), an update on a collaborative research initiative incorporating agribusiness and zero net emissions from agriculture (Dr Michael O’Shea) and an overview of the Protected Cropping Systems research network (Tony Tucker).

The CRDC and Cotton Australia Boards also took the opportunity to visit QAAFI facilities within the Queensland Biosciences Precinct (Prof. Neena Mitter’s laboratory) as well as the new plant transformation and propagation facilities at the UQ Long Pocket Campus.

With the help of the UQ research community, the Global Change Institute is developing multiple Collaborative Research Initiatives (CRIs) to address global challenges. 

Towards net zero emissions in agriculture

Net Zero workshop

Some 28 people joined GCI Innovation Broker Dr Michael O’Shea for a brainstorming session at UQ on Monday, 12 December looking at how Australian agriculture might best arrive at zero net emissions.

The audience comprised of UQ and Qld Government researchers, including specialists in farming systems, genomics, plant science, crop modelling and economics.

Professor Kim Wilkins from the UQ School of Communication and Arts led a session designed to help imagine different perspectives on research problems and their stakeholders.

The event was jointly coordinated by the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation and the Global Change Institute.

'Nero Net Emissions' is likely to become another GCI Collaborative Research Initiative in 2022.

Sustainable future cities

Sustainable Future Cities

At the 2032 Brisbane Olympics opening ceremony, few of the 60,000 or so attendees will be thinking of a breakfast meeting that happened eleven years earlier.

Admittedly, it takes many thousands of meetings to stage such a mammoth event, but the breakfast gathering organised by the Global Change Institute on 7 December 2021 was unique.

The meeting’s focus was not about staging the Olympics, moreover, it was about what events such as the Olympics can do for cities overall?

Assembled at UQ’s Queen Street office were about 20 representatives from state and local government, private enterprise and UQ academics.

Their mission, how to influence the design of better, more liveable, more sustainable cities.

Issues such as transport, water consumption, legacy architecture, renewable energy and first-nations involvement bubbled up.

GCI’s goal is to bring focus, strategy and funding to answer the big research questions that arose from the inaugural meeting.

Discover more:

Frontier Forum: killer superbugs – a problem much bigger than human health (online)

Frontier Forum with Tegan Taylor

The Frontier Forum is a new space for meaningful, research-backed conversations about the major developments shaping our world.
Presented by the UQ Global Change Institute and moderated by Tegan Taylor, these online events bring together leading researchers and experts from across the community who are at the coalface of major global challenges.
Join us as we debate the issues, confront broken systems, and get into some blue-sky thinking around where we go from here.
Bacteria , for example, are becoming increasingly impervious to the drugs we use to kill them, and we aren’t discovering enough new antibiotics to replace those losing their edge.

For our first Frontier Forum, we invited a panel of UQ experts to discuss the superbug threat and how it should be addressed locally and globally:

  • Dr Heidi Carroll, Queensland Health, Public Health Physician/Deputy Executive Director, Communicable Diseases Unit; UQ alumnus (MBBS, MPH)
  • Professor Ian Henderson, Director, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland
  • Associate Professor Ricardo J. Soares Magalhães, Population Health and Biosecurity; Director, Queensland Alliance for One Health Sciences, The University of Queensland.
  • Dr Joanne Mollinger, Principal Scientist (AMR), Biosecurity Queensland, Animal Biosecurity and Welfare; UQ alumnus (PhD (Veterinary Microbiology), GCPH)


  • Tegan Taylor, ABC Science Unit; co-host of the multi-award-winning ABC Coronacast podcast; UQ alumnus (BBusMan, BJ, GCArts, MA)

Digital Health Research Network attracts international recognition

Cambridge University Business School praises UQ-led research paper

Investigators from GCI’s Digital Health Research Network have been recognised by one of the world’s leading interdisciplinary business journals, Information and Organization.

In a joint transdisciplinary research effort, UQ’s Professor Andrew Burton-Jones and Associate Professor Clair Sullivan collaborated with colleagues from across the clinical, business, and administrative sides of digital health to understand why evaluating the success of digital transformation in healthcare is so hard and what can be done about it.

Their paper "Changing the conversation on evaluating digital transformation in healthcare: Insights from an institutional analysis" was awarded Best RICK Paper 2020 by the journal’s Editor-in-Chief, Professor Michael Barrett from the University of Cambridge Judge Business School.

Information and Organization publishes ‘original scholarly articles on the relationships between information technologies and social organisation. The journal recently introduced a section focused on research impact and contributions to knowledge (RICK) and this paper was awarded the best paper in that section in 2020

According to Information and Organization: “Understanding the relationships between information technologies and social organisation is an increasingly important and urgent social and scholarly concern in many disciplinary fields.”

In the UQ-led paper, the authors demonstrated “how institutional theory can benefit from the insights observed in evaluation work” and suggested an “agenda through which practitioners and researchers can jointly improve work in this area”.

Information and Organization editor Professor Michael Barrett praised the Australian collaboration as an effort worth celebrating.

“Congratulations on your excellent research and for making the RICK section at I&O the home for your best work,” he said.

Co-designing high-impact research

Research Nexus

Research Impact Nexus Manager Dr Crighton Nichols facilitated a panel discussion at the Global Change Institute with four leading UQ academics, exploring the co-design of high-impact research to address complex challenges.

Panelists included Professor Barbara Masser, Professor Brian Head, Associate Professor Kate O'Brien and Professor Kim Wilkins.

A recording of the session can be viewed on GCI's Youtube channel.



Protected cropping network industry workshop

Protected Cropping workshop

A diverse range of participants from industry, government and university sectors attended the Global Change Institute’s Protected Cropping Network industry workshop, held at UQ St Lucia on 29 September.

According to GCI Innovation Broker Tony Tucker, attendee contributions helped make the hybrid event a great success.

“We’ve received much good data to distil and reflect upon to aid further discussion and planning,” he said.

“Our aim for the network is to create a platform for stakeholders with interests in protected cropping to come together and work on solutions to the challenge areas.”

“Some of these challenge areas will evolve and expand with the participants’ continuing input.

“We’re excited about the momentum we’ve established and looking forward to speaking, and working more closely, with the protected cropping group in the future.”

Learn more about GCI’s Protected Cropping Research Network.

Co-designing research with impact at scale

Research Nexus

As part of Research Week 2021, the GCI Research Impact Nexus hosted a masterclass panel discussion on co-designing research with impact at-scale.

Presented by Dr Crighton Nichols, the event was viewed by a hybrid audience of live and on-line attendees estimated to number about 120 guests.

Speakers included Queensland Chief Scientist Professor Hugh Possingham, as well as Profs Laurie Buys, Andrew 'Alf' Garnett, and Dr Cristyn Meath.

UQ DVCRI Professor Bronwyn Harch and GCI Director Professor Rachel Parker provided opening remarks.

For more than an hour, Dr Nichols and the panellists discussed insights into how to successfully address the complex challenges required to deliver co-designed research programs.

A recording of the webinar is available on YouTube.

Digital Health Research Capability

Digital Health research capability

Digital healthcare is showing promise to address the imbalance between demand and resources.

However, the overwhelmingly highlevel digital information generated at the frontline of clinical care has highlighted the risk of digital records becoming mere filling cabinets, if not processed, analysed and shared properly across clinical settings.

To ensure full benefit of digital records, all data entered during routine clinical care should be available and ready to be re-used for continuous quality improvement and research.

Outputs available to clinicians and users in near real-time can drive continuous, iterative, data-driven improvement of patient outcomes.

The Global Change Institute has created an easy reference summary of UQ's Digital Health research capability.

Dept of Environment & Science execs visit GCI

Prof. Rachel Parker

The Global Change Institute hosted representatives from the Queensland Department of Environment and Science for a networking meeting on Thursday, 29 July.

The delegation was led by Deputy Director-General Science and Technology Division Dr Mark Jacobs and Executive Director Science Strategy and Partnerships Dr Julia Playford.

The meeting was an opportunity to share GCI’s vision with the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, with a view to potential collaborations in the future.

Unpacking the modern workspace

Next Generation Workspaces workshop

The Global Change Institute brought together more than 40 senior leaders and experts from industry, government, the private sector and academia to discuss the physical and virtual workplace challenges and opportunities resulting from numerous global trends and events.

Participants at the Next-Generation Workspaces workshop collectively examined the question of where the modern workplace is heading and what new solutions will be needed to ensure workers and organisations remain productive, innovative, healthy and resilient.

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Protected croppers get digging

Protected Cropping workshop

GCI has hosted a dedicated protective cropping workshop to identify the ‘Ideal future state’ & benefits of the growing sector.

Researchers anticipate protected cropping will generate multiple benefits for growers, producers and consumers, ranging from increased yield to reduced use of pesticides and more efficient use of water.

Hosted by GCI Innovation Broker Tony Tucker and Research Nexus Manager Crighton Nichols, the workshop was attended by 18 researchers from areas such as horticulture, gemonics, engineering and biological science.

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Investing in change through research funding

Petra Lundgren blog post

How do funders think about investing in research that is intended to lead to change?

This blog post is written from the perspective of a research funder.

More specifically it is based on reflections and lessons learned during five years managing and directing strategic research programs at a not-for-profit foundation, investing in science that would benefit the health and resilience of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Our funding mandate was to include research in a larger body of work towards a broader vision of change.

This therefore provided the basis of my work and helped me shape the view that the funder has a big and critical role to play.

By Petra Lundgren

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Digital health global change research network

Digital Health

More than 20 academics from five UQ faculties workshopped the vision, scope and funding roadmap of GCI’s Digital Health Network at St Lucia this week.

One of the overarching considerations for the network was how best to meet the quadruple aims of healthcare i.e. moving towards better outcomes, improved patient experience, improved clinician’s experience and reduced costs.

Future network programs and work packages will be designed to align with the Three Horizons outlined in the 2026 Queensland Health Digital Transformation Strategy​.

digital health word salad

Next generation workspaces network

Workshop in progress

In her introductory remarks at GCI’s Next Generation Workspaces Network inaugural workshop, UQ Business School Associate Professor Remi Ayoko said she was inspired by the depth of research talent in the room.

The event attracted representatives from a diverse range of UQ disciplines, including researchers from psychology, urban planning, electrical engineering, law, economics and IT, among others. 

Convener and GCI Innovation Broker Alex Blauensteiner said he expected to arrange another meeting of Next Generation Workspaces Network before the end of May.

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A new way to prevent childhood obesity

For the first time in Australia, researchers can accurately predict if babies are at risk of childhood obesity by the age of eight-to-nine years of age.

Researchers from The University of Queensland have developed and validated the i-PATHWAY model, which uses simple risk factors mostly gathered during routine doctor visits at 12 months of age to predict future childhood obesity.

Research Fellow and dietitian with the UQ Centre for Health Services Research Dr Oliver Canfell* says i-PATHWAY could calculate the risk of childhood obesity with 74.6 per cent accuracy.

(* Dr Canfell is also an active member of the GCI Digital Health Learning Network.)

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The building blocks of life -- proteins

GCI staff visit PEF

GCI staff were treated to a behind-the-scene tour and introduction to the UQ Protein Expression Facility by PEF Director Professor Linda Hwee-Lin Lua and assisted by PEF research specialist Dr Tayo Adeniyi.

PEF is widely recognised as Australia’s leading protein research facility, specialising in recombinant protein production.

How to get the most out of research ...

The Conversation

GCI Director Professor Rachel Parker co-authors article about research collaboration for The Conversation, which argues productive relationships do not occur organically.

Australia has long been seen as failing to fully capitalise on its ground-breaking research. A consultation paper on university research commercialisation is the latest federal government effort to increase the impact of research.

Its focus is on creating incentives for industry-university collaboration to translate and commercialise research.

Any government scheme resulting from these consultations might boost the number of such collaborations. Yet our research suggests many of these projects are unlikely to reach their full potential unless academics and their research partners working in industry strengthen their collaborative relationships.

Digital health network

Digital Health Network

This GCI designed and facilitated Digital Health Network workshop focused on rich and productive collaboration between diverse disciplines and external partners including industry, and government.

Drawing on UQ’s research excellence in the digital health space, the objective was to create a foundation for effective collaboration which enables diverse stakeholders to explore possible futures and design programs of research that will address strategic health challenges.

For more information contact: GCI Innovation Broker Dr Laura G. Carrascosa.

Future of work and workplaces

Future workplaces

The GCI Team brought a small group of UQ experts together from a broad range of disciplines that are examining the Future of Work & Workplaces to explore the key issues that need to be addressed over the next 10 years by organisations, workers, policy makers, regulators and financiers.

The facilitated session identified the broad range of key factors driving the current and anticipated changes to the way we work, where we work and what we do, and identified areas where UQ can collaborate with partners to help ensure we a future with productive, equitable, secure, safe and meaningful work.

For more information contact GCI Innovation Broker Alex Blauensteiner.

Celebrating international women’s day

International women's day

Global Change Institute Innovation Broker, Laura Garcia Carrascosa, proudly joined Professor Geoff McColl, Executive Dean of the UQ Faculty of Medicine; Professor Karen Moritz, Associate Dean of Research, Faculty of Medicine; and UQDI Staff, Dr Georgia Mori, Dr Snelahta Kumari and Dr Stacey Cole to celebrate International Women’s Day at the Diamantina Institute.

International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women -- all united this year under the banner: Choose to challenge. Laura shared her personal story and reflected on some of the challenges she has faced in her career.

Supporting community centred research for impact

GCI Innovation Broker Dr Petra Lundgren provided the keynote address at the Network of Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Research Organisations -- Oceania workshop.

Dr Lundgren addressed how funders could invest in change through active management and engagement with the research they fund.

Moreton Bay – fast-tracking population and jobs

Moreton Bay Future of Work

As part of GCI’s focus on driving UQ’s Next Generation Workplaces and the Future of Work research, GCI’s Alex Blauensteiner (above) was keynote speaker at the Suburban Alliance’s Moreton Bay – fast-tracking population and jobs industry breakfast.

Alex joined Moreton Bay Regional Council CEO, Greg Chemello, CEO of The Mill Precinct, Stuart Pickering, and Head of the University of Sunshine Coast’s Moreton Campus, Dr Karen Becker, to discuss how organisations are responding to COVID 19 in regards to where and how their staff work, and how organisations are thinking about their operational locations and work environments moving forward.

Linking policy to research

Professor Karen HUssey

Professor Karen Hussey, Deputy Director General Queensland Department of Environment and Science, visited GCI to brief UQ researchers on Queensland Government policy within the environment portfolio.

A respected political scientist and economist – and inaugural director of the UQ Centre for Policy Futures before taking up her current role with DES – Professor Hussey's research focuses on policies, institutions and governance arrangements for sustainability.